Raymond Weil CEO Elie Bernheim’s well-established love of music has been reflected in several of his brand’s watches — most recently in last year’s Maestro Beatles limited edition and 2015’s Nabucco Gibson SG. This year, a new piece in Raymond Weil’s Freelancer collection celebrates the spirit of Gibson’s iconic Les Paul guitar and its role in the history of rock ‘n’ roll: the Raymond Weil Freelancer Chronograph “Gibson Les Paul.”
The watch features several visual elements inspired by the legendary guitar, named for its inventor, Lester William Polsfuss, aka Les Paul, and made famous by artists such as Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, who have used the instrument in carving out their places in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. The stainless steel case measures 43.5 mm in diameter, with a black PVD-coated tachymeter bezel that echoes the lacquer finish on the Les Paul “Black Beauty” guitar.
The dial features a circular guilloché motif representing the guitar’s six chords, while the applied hour markers are fret-shaped. The Gibson logo and a Les Paul signature appear at 12 o’clock, just above the Raymond Weil brand logo. The famous golden split-diamond inlay, a defining feature of the Gibson Les Paul, is represented at 4:30 next to the date window. Golden highlights are used in the chronograph counter, date window, and central chrono hand. Finally, the perforations in the golden-top-stitched calf leather strap are reminiscent of the sound holes in the body of a guitar.
The chronograph, with a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, as well as the other timekeeping functions, are powered by the mechanical, self-winding Caliber RW5010 (based on the La Joux-Perret 8601), which is visible through a clear caseback adorned with another Gibson logo. The movement, which is the same used in the Nabucco model devoted to Gibson, has 27 jewels and a 46-hour power reserve when fully wound.
The Raymond Weil Freelancer “Gibson Les Paul” is a limited edition of 300 pieces, priced at $3,295. It is encased in a special presentation box that is inspired by a Gibson guitar case.
We had a chance to see the watch up close at Baselworld this week. Here are a few live shots.